Who would have thought that Chinese communists would become a model for U.S. interrogators? What a disgrace.
The New York Times reported last week that U.S. military trainers at the Guantï¿½namo Bay prison in 2002 taught a set of interrogation techniques that originated with a 1957 Air Force study of how Chinese communists forced confessions, often false, out of American prisoners in the Korean War. U.S. interrogators went on to use techniques described as torture in the study, including stress positions and exposure to cold, against some prisoners at Guantï¿½namo before Congress banned coercive methods by the military in 2005.
Torture is not only an affront to American values. Interrogators from the FBI, CIA and military have testified that it doesn’t produce reliable intelligence.
Recently, a bipartisan group of 200 retired generals, religious leaders and former top U.S. government officials — including George Shultz, Ronald Reagan‘s secretary of state — called on Mr. Bush to issue an executive order unequivocally rejecting torture.
If the president isn’t worried about his own reputation if he rebuffs this group, he should be worried about the nation’s. Even the possibility that U.S. interrogators could use torture degrades America’s moral authority, one of its most potent weapons in the war on terrorists.